2-6-09 8-Track Tapes
I remember the 8-Track tape very well. I first encountered it in approx. 1968, when my mother’s new car had an 8-Track tape player in it. We got an 8-Track tape of “Flowers” by The Rolling Stones, and mom drove around listening to that (she would’ve been almost 50 years old then). I think she liked Mick Jagger – maybe just his hair style of 1968? Or perhaps she thought that “Mother’s Little Helper” was amusing? Mom always liked the Stones.
It is a neat idea – a small loop of tape with numerous ‘tracks’ on it, where you can switch almost effortlessly to 4 different ‘programs’. OK, the sound quality wasn’t tops – but it was easier to handle than the reel-to-reel deck. And we had one in mom’s car. It didn’t take long before I (we?) talked my dad into buying a recording 8-Track machine – probably about 1970 or so. We may even have had another ‘home deck’ to play 8-Track tapes on – the forerunner of a ‘bookshelf stereo’. But the Panasonic recorder definitely got hooked into dad’s ‘hi-fi set-up’.
My first car came in ’76 or shortly thereafter – and I first went for 8-Track tapes instead of cassettes. After the 8-Track recorder quit functioning properly, we had moved on to Sony cassette decks in the house – TC-161SD! But for the car? 8-Track seemed like a good choice. I had even found some oddball 8-Track tapes: The Soft Machine, some Frank Zappa titles etc.
When the 8-Track started going away, it was possible to find them as “cut-outs” for $2 - $5 in record stores, towards the end of the 70’s. My first record store job, starting in ’76 – the 8-Track tape was still being stocked and sold at the hippie record store. In the early 80’s, when I changed jobs and worked for an early importer / exporter, I remember people asking us for 8-Tracks. Phil at Starship in
Once of my friends got a great big American car used – in the mid-80’s. It had an in-dash 8-Track player. He asked, and it didn’t look possible to replace it with a then-popular cassette deck…so he offered to buy all of my weirdo 8-Track tapes off of me. I think I kept the Can one…and the Zappas…
But car cassette players weren’t all that amazing, either. If it was a reverse-able deck, you can bet one of the directions would no longer work, after a few years. And, for me, Sony Mini-disc replaced cassette (in my car) – until I got Mr. Suzuki last November – and I finally got a CD player in my car – familiar story – it’s “in-dash” and would cost a small fortune to get my MD put into Mr. Suzuki.
And Quad-8 tapes!!!
So, let’s remember the humble 8-Track tape. I bet people sell them to enthusiasts on eBay. I once sold some Quad-8 tapes to a guy in
Labels: 8-Track Tapes